Please, Parents: Prepare For College Deferrals & Rejections in December

New York, Dec. 3, 2019 — When the calendar flips to December, anxiety spikes for students and families waiting on Early Decision, Early Action and Restricted Early Action news that will come in mid-December.

I don’t have the inside info on which day the Ivy announcements will come but studying last year’s calendar, Thursday Dec. 12th or Friday Dec. 13 look likely.

It’s time to practice “learning to fail” because the numbers tell us that the vast majority of applicants will be deferred or rejected – and that there will be many more deferrals than outright rejections, leaving you and your kid in a state of exquisitely painful limbo!

What to do in the meantime? Hope for the best, prepare for the worst – and keep in mind that many of the most selective universities defer thousands of qualified students. Those they pick for Early Action/Decision are the absolute stand-outs in the pile, athletic recruits, and some special cases (donate a building anyone?). Hope for the best, but do the math and plan accordingly.

According to BlogVine, “At many top schools, the deferral rate for early action applicants far exceeds the downright rejection rate. In 2017, Harvard accepted 14.7% of all early action applicants, deferring another 74% and rejecting a scant 9% of early action applicants.”

Here’s the news from Yale about last year’s Restricted Early Action applications: 56% of the 6,016 students who applied through early action were deferred for reconsideration in the spring, 30% were denied admission.

Getting the news that you’ve been deferred or rejected from your first choice can be devastating, not just for the student but for the family. My advice – especially to parents – is to brace yourselves and your family and take the long view, for the sake of your child’s next move on this chess board. Days of dejection and family suffering will not help your kid pick up and move on.

If your kid has not prepared regular decision applications to other universities, if disappointing news comes, it’s time to spring into action – and not wait a week to recover from the pain of rejection or deferral. I have had parents call me frantically on December 20th, with their son or daughter needing to do eight applications and a half dozen essays or more.

Keep in mind: If your son or daughter is deferred and rejected, you may want to have their other applications reviewed before sending them out.

Keep in mind: Being rejected or deferred is more likely to happen than not.

Keep in mind: Many of these decisions are not based on merit or what will happen to students in other regular decision applications. I have had students deferred and rejected from Brown who got into Stanford! Rejected from MIT who got into Columba and Brown. Rejected from Stanford who got into Brown and Yale. Deferred and rejected at Duke, who got into Georgetown. Rejected from Georgetown who got into Stanford.

I’ve also had plenty of students who get into their first-choice colleges. And plenty more who got into many or most of the colleges in their top three choices.

In this hyper-competitive world, we can no longer play the prediction game. At the same time, a strong application and strong essays are essential.

If the early action/early decision news in your household isn’t what you’d been hoping for, please contact me by email or phone (East Coast). And Yes, I will be working on Christmas Day and on December 31st, though I encourage everyone to submit their January 1st applications before New Year’s Eve!

Liz@DontSweatTheEssay.com PHONE: 1-855-99-ESSAY

Pick up the phone or better yet, send me an email ….